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Ryan on Medicare: 'We want this debate'

OXFORD, OH -- Appearing at his alma mater Wednesday, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan weighed in on the Medicare debate for the first time before voters on the campaign trail.

“The president, I'm told, is talking about Medicare today,” Congressman Ryan told the couple-thousand-person crowd at Miami University. “We want this debate, we need this debate, and we will win this debate.”

The Medicare debate is quickly becoming a key issue going into the November election especially after Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, authored a controversial bill that would transform the health care system for seniors and has been taking heat for it from President Obama and Democrats.

While Ryan touched on the topic on a college campus Wednesday, he mostly attacked Obama and failed to offer specifics of what a Romney-Ryan plan would look like.

The day after the presumptive GOP presidential nominee himself stumped in the Buckeye State, Paul made his first appearance in the state since being announced as VP and even recalled several local spots he would frequent when he was a student here.

“Ohio is so important. You know this. You’re used to it. The Buckeye state could very well determine the future of our country for a long time,” Paul told the crowd outside about the third battleground state he has been in.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman – once considered the frontrunner for the VP pick – was on hand for Ryan’s visit to his state and praised Romney’s selection of the seven term Wisconsin congressman.

“Paul Ryan, as I said earlier, is a Redhawk, so Redhawks should be soaring today, but he is also a very good friend,” Portman said. “He is one of those guys in Congress that is there for the right reasons and you know what that reason is? It is about his family. It’s about your family. It's about being sure that the American dream can be restored. That’s what Paul Ryan is about.”

The crowd was made well aware that Portman was nearly selected to join Romney’s ticket.

“I want to tell you, it was sort of funny because as you know [Portman] was seriously considered for this job,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich told the crowd before Portman’s remarks. Portman’s “wife told me … 17-year-old Sally is the vice president of her class and Rob’s wife said this family can only stand one vice president at a time.”

Congressman Ryan, meanwhile, had nothing but kind words to say about Portman.

“Rob is a very close friend, we've been through a lot together,” Ryan said. “I just want to tell you what a special man this is. I thank you for your service Rob Portman you are one great United States senator.”